By Charndré Emma Kippie
Ronann Noble is an incredible, passionate woman leader who is the driving force behind Onyx Management Solutions. She subscribes to the servant leadership philosophy and has been part of the IT industry for more than 24 years, putting her clients & subsequent employees first. Her ‘can do’ attitude and positive personality makes her a phenomenal leader.
She has been instrumental in the growth of Onyx Management Solutions since inception. The company is a Software Development and Testing Services Provider that extends to other areas of business which includes IT Service Management, Strategic Resourcing, Cyber Security, IT Consultancy as well as Learning and Development.
Briefly explain your journey towards launching the Onyx MS business.
I have had the privilege of working in South Africa and abroad, and was blessed to have been mentored by some of the industry greats who have helped shape my career in IT. My passion has been and always will be people. I love the energy of engaging and finding solutions that bring about innovation and change. Having worked at some of the largest IT companies in the country, my experiences gained have shaped the OnyxMS ethos.
I have also applied my own personal values and ethics, regarding servant leadership to how I manage the OnyxMS business. I push to ensure that our company values are practiced and not just merely written in our code of conduct.
What does your role at Onyx MS entail?
I am responsible for the strategy and longevity of the business. It is important that our mission, vision and company goals align with our organic growth. I need to ensure that we have a sustainable, stable environment whilst tracking a profitable growth trajectory. Having said that, I am involved in every facet of the business. We are an ‘all hands-on deck’ company. Thus, we all jump in and play our part as best we can.
As a women-owned entity, what are the core values that adhere to in order to contribute positively to the empowerment of your employees and clients?
By employing these core values each day, I have found that we get the best from our team at Onyx MS. We build a strong culture when we work together, growing and learning from each other as a team. I personally like to create a safe space for the team to just be and then watch the magic unfold. To this end, I have asked each staff member to write their favourite quote mantra on the walls of the office to remind each of us that we are all chasing our own goals, and that OnyxMS is the vehicle that is going to get us there.. I love vision boards and encourage people to share their dreams and what motivates them.
You have a passion for people and IT. How does this factor into your unique leadership style?
Every person is unique and we each bring something new to the table. By encouraging that uniqueness, we see their growth and full potential. I am a people-pleaser, and some perceive that as a weakness, but I use that trait of mine as a strength. Someone often wants to do and be more if they are appreciated and acknowledged. I love to see people happy and succeed. If I am able to help, inspire or influence that success, then that is my best reward.
What are some of the business milestones you are most proud of?
Signing our first client and then renewing with that client, over the last 4 years, is still our greatest achievement. We were very blessed to have a CIO of a global entity have the foresight and the courage to take a chance on a newly registered SMME, which then started the OnyxMS journey.
Our next life changing milestone was signing our largest contract to date, which grew not only our team, but our portfolio substantially. That allowed us the stability to initiate our next new exciting adventure – Our Graduate Programme.
Your graduate programme is truly making a difference. Please tell us about your vision for this programme.
We are very excited about this initiative. This is my opportunity to give back to our beautiful country. We have lost much with the outflow of skills from South Africa for various reasons. This has resulted in us having to source offshore. Having lived and worked overseas myself, I know that our skills are widely sought after. I am grabbing this opportunity to re-ignite the growth and empowerment of our youth, especially our young women.
We as women finally have a platform and are a force to be reckoned with. I want that platform to grow and bring back our skills to South Africa.
This will contribute positively to our economy. The OnyxMS Graduate Programme is the vehicle I am utilising to affect this growth and empowerment. We have already spoken with a number of companies, in both Public and the Private Sector, and the response has been phenomenal thus far.
OnyxMS Grad Programme
The grad programme will cover the following courses:
- AGILE & CLOUD: Develop a culture of creativity and experimentation and learn how to use Cloud platforms such as AWS and Azure.
- SOFTWARE TESTING & AUTOMATION: Learn how to evaluate and verify software product performance, and to replace repeatable manual processes.
- FRONT END: Build beautiful, fast and native-quality apps that simplify your user’s ability to view and interact with your system.
- BACK END: Build massively scalable, concurrent and serverless backends using cloud technology.
For more info on this exciting new initiative see: https://onyxcorp.africa/grad-programme/
There is currently a huge skills shortage in terms of girls and women in SA. How can other emerging businesses also play a role in addressing this?
I think that the change has already begun. OnyxMS is a proudly 100% women-owned entity. We are predominantly a woman-driven workforce as well. We do have dedicated male employees contributing to our team and mission. However, we are proud that Onyx MS is the poster child for Woman Empowerment at its best – from CEO to Tester. Whilst we may not be unique in this, we strive to differentiate ourselves through our engagements and service delivery excellence, and strive to be authentic.
Social media has also played its role with increasing awareness of women in the workplace, especially with many companies using it as a platform for addressing equity, mentorship and women leadership. More women are stepping up and having the confidence to not only empower themselves, but empower others as well.
What are some of your future business goals?
- To encourage and promote servant leadership.
- To establish Onyx Management Solutions as a service provider of choice.
- Maintain and grow a stable and sustainable environment for our team, potential employees, clients and partners to grow and flourish.
- To gain and retain the reputation of trustworthiness backed by our company ethos – Quality Without Compromise and Service Delivery Excellence.
What advice do you have for young women in SA who wish to pursue a career in IT?
IT is an ever-changing, exciting career path. There are so many facets of IT to choose from and grow in. Think about the pandemic we found ourselves in, that brought the world to a grinding halt and affected so many lives. It was through technology that we were able to continue and sustain our economy as we continued to live, work and support our families.
Technology allowed business continuity, and changed the whole mindset about the way of work and productivity. I am blessed and grateful to be part of and have a career in IT which has allowed me to make an impact and now give back through our Graduate Programme. There are so many opportunities in IT and Technology. So be brave, strong, and be authentically you – take the plunge!
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